Last night I just couldn’t figure out what to cook today. Then I thought, are there ingredients in my cupboards that need to be used up. Lemons and garlic. Then I wondered if this dish would be possible to replicate on my hob/stove. Especially as my only prep counter is to the immediate right of my cooker – way too hot in summer to use, even with the window open. This Chicken in Lemon and Garlic Sauce is something that someone I knew from the Basque country in Northern Spain would make occasionally when I was invited over to her flat in London. Roasted in the oven this always turned out perfectly. And always delicious. It’s undoubtedly comfort food at its best. Off course, cooking on the hob isn’t the equivalent – to state the obvious. This, regardless of it perhaps being second best, was as good. Melt in the mouth tender and flavoursome meat with a sensational gravy. Talking of which…went to grab some plain flour to thicken the gravy slightly. Oh, forgot to replace it with new. Like I plain forgot to buy sugar earlier. So, unsweetened green tea it is then. Anyway, at the last moment I smashed one of the smaller baked potatoes (like the chicken cooked on the hob) into the gravy. Which really didn’t look good on the plate. Exactly why I shoved my camera so darned close to the food. Still, I do have leftover chicken and enough gravy to re-shoot tomorrow – especially as the natural light was deathly dull today. I’ll rub the sauce through a fine wire metal sieve instead.
As the large lemon I used was quite tart I sweetened this slightly with half a tablespoon of ground almonds – which worked a treat. If instructions are needed for the mini cooked on the hob potatoes then have a look at one of my previous posts. As for the slow-cooked Savoy cabbage it’s really nice with this. It’s the only way I cook it, over low heat with a little oil, and sometimes butter, for at least an hour. I’m nearly certain it’s referred to as black cabbage in Southern Ireland, due to it scorching slightly. Not to be confused with the Italian black cabbage that seems to be the rage here. I’ve never seen it. But then, I do live in the sticks these days. A little bit of bacon goes a long way with cabbage cooked like this. As I have a little bit of chorizo left I’m going to try it tomorrow with some chorizo crumbs, cooked separately to render its fat.
Update: was wrong about the chorizo – too spicy for this delicate gravy/sauce. Yes, I kept it as a gravy today for the lead-in photo. Streaky bacon pan-fried until crisp, then broken into crumbs would be far better. As for the potatoes in the photo above, I didn’t have small new potatoes left so had to go with larger split in half.
Chicken in Lemon and Garlic Sauce, with mini baked potatoes and slow-cooked Savoy cabbage
- olive oil
- 500g (17.63 oz) x chicken leg quarters, skin and excess fat removed and discarded, and cut into thighs and drumsticks, rinsed and pat dry with kitchen paper/roll
- 1 x dried bay leaf, ripped
- 1 x large lemon, freshly squeezed (remember to press on and roll the lemon with both hands for a couple of seconds which makes it easier to extract the juice)
- 2 – 3 x plump garlic cloves, root end cut off, kept in their shells
- up to 100ml (0.211 US pt lqd) x water
- up to 1/2 x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube, use less if regular stock cubes
- 100ml (0.211 US pt lqd) x water
- 1/2 x tablespoon ground almonds
- 1 x tablespoon plain (AP) flour for gravy, 1½ x heaped tablespoon plain (AP) flour for sauce
- 1½ – 2 x tablespoon olive oil
For the slow-cooked Savoy cabbage:
- olive oil and/or butter
- 200g (7.05 oz) x shredded Savoy cabbage
- streaky/bacon crumbs, about 1 teaspoon per person – optional
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 4. When pan is hot and the chicken is prepared pour in a good glug of oil with the bay leaf. Get the chicken in and move the pieces around the pan to prevent them from sticking. I have to reduce the heat to No 3 as soon as the chicken pieces go in. Do this for about 10 minutes until the chicken not only seals but takes on a golden colour. Then I have to reduce heat again to No 2. This is when the lemon is poured in (if using a fork as I do to extract the juice place a fine wire metal sieve on top of the saucepan to collect any pith and seeds). Add the garlic cloves, cover with a lid and check on its progress every 10 – 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over occasionally. Remember that the citrus sugars can burn at this stage.
- After about 20 – 30 minutes cooking time on heat No 2 I had to pour in about half of the first batch of water to prevent the oil and lemon from drying out. Replace the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes, checking often to prevent any scorching. If the oil and lemon is drying out too much add more water. Reduce the heat to No 1 as well, if necessary. After cooking on heat No 2 for an hour is when I reduced the heat further, without having to add any more water. I left this to cook for a further 30 minutes before preparing the stock within next step.
- Put a small saucepan on heat No 2 and pour in the second batch of water with the stock cube. Allow the stock cube to dissolve completely by stirring through gently (I used the same saucepan that I cooked the Savoy cabbage in as I wanted to grab all of that flavour left in the pan after transferring it to a suitable bowl).
- Remove the chicken pieces unto a suitable plate and cover. Allow to rest whilst preparing the sauce/gravy. When the stock cube has dissolved pour that into the saucepan that had contained the chicken. Put the small saucepan back on heat No 1 with the oil and plain flour. Mix thoroughly, and when any sign of bubbling occurs take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Put back on heat to cook out the flour, again removing from heat if bubbling occurs. Repeat this process about 3 times. Gently add some of the stock mixture into this pan and stir constantly to prevent lumps from forming (if they do this can be rubbed through a fine wire metal sieve to remove them).
- Transfer the cooked out flour mixture to the stock in the pan that contained the chicken. Up the heat a little to No 2. Stir constantly to prevent any lumps forming. Once this is at a suitable consistency take off heat and set a side. If a gravy is preferable allow to cool and rub the sauce through a fine wire metal sieve with the back of a stainless steel soup ladle. Discard any pulp in the sieve, scraping and retaining any purée that is underneath the sieve by removing it with a wooden spoon. Return chicken pieces to the gravy/sauce if necessary to reheat.
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